Albums

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Klassiek - Verschijnt op 14 juni 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschijnt op 24 mei 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 10 mei 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
2019 will see the 500th commemoration of the death of one of the greatest geniuses humanity has produced: Leonardo da Vinci, scientist, inventor, painter – and musician. Doulce Mémoire, having devoted themselves to Renaissance music for the past 30 years, have decided to pay homage to Leonardo. Their founder-director, Denis Raisin Dadre, an eminent specialist in the music of the period and a great lover of pictorial art, has devised an original programme: ‘Rather than just make music from the time of Leonardo, I’ve taken my cue from the paintings themselves. I’ve worked on what could be the hidden music of these pictures, what musical pieces might be suggested by them….’ He chose around fifteen paintings, many of which are now in the Louvre: The Baptism of Christ, The Virgin of the Rocks, Portrait of Isabella d’Este, Portrait of an Unknown Woman (La belle ferronnière), Saint Anne, St. John the Baptist… and of course La Gioconda. He then matched them with works by Jacob Obrecht (1457-1505), Josquin Desprez (1450-1521), laude for the Annunciation. There are also some frotolle, and songs to texts by Petrarch accompanied by the lira da braccio, an instrument Leonardo played himself. This recording comes with a handsome booklet, including reproductions of the pictures by Leonardo, some in detail, giving an intimate insight into them; there is also a text by Denis Raisin Dadre explaining his selection. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 3 mei 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
‘The senses reign, and Reason now is dead’ (Petrarch). Giovanni Antonini, flautist and founder of the legendary Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, enjoys musical voyages, the discursiveness of music. He begins with an anonymous 16th century pavane, La Morte della Ragione ("The Death of Reason"), which he believes refers to In Praise of Folly, in which its author Erasmus distinguishes between two forms of madness: ‘a sweet illusion of the spirit', and a negative form, ‘one that the vengeful Furies conjure up from hell...’. This succession of ‘musical pictures’ leads us to the threshold of the baroque era, starting out with the Puzzle Canon by John Dunstable (1390- ca.1453), whose manuscript is an enigma, via the ‘bizarre’ style of Alexander Agricola (1446- ca.1506) and his obsessive, ostinato rhythm – almost an anticipation of minimalist music… to the improvisatory freedom of the Galliard Battaglia de Scheidt (1587-1654), a battle piece involving a great many diminutions or ‘divisions’, a common technique of improvisation in the Renaissance... This grand instrumental musical fresco of time and space is a kind of self-portrait of Giovanni Antonini and his longstanding musical colleagues. To accompany this recording, a richly-illustrated booklet presents a free-ranging iconographical tour combining pictures and contemporary photos. © Alpha Classics
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 3 mei 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
After their three recordings dedicated to Dvořák’s Piano Trios No. 3 and No. 4 (the ‘Dumky’), as well as his First and Second Piano Quartets, the Piano Quintets and the Bagatelles, Omri Epstein, Mathieu van Bellen and Ori Epstein conclude their complete cycle of the Czech composer’s chamber music with piano with his first two piano trios: the bond of sympathy between the artists becomes evident as they communicate both their passion for this repertoire and their pleasure in making music together. The Trio in B flat major – the first that has survived – was composed in the spring of 1875, during a period when Dvořák was conceiving and consolidating a more conventional sense of musical form and style. The works of this remarkably prolific year show a distinct crystallisation of Dvořák’s mature melodic style. When the composer began work on his Trio in G minor, in January 1876, he was exhausted after the completion of his opera Vanda, and overcome with grief for the death of his daughter Josefa. He would certainly have known how, back in 1855, his elder colleague Smetana had turned to the genre of the piano trio in similar circumstances, to express his sorrow at the death of his own daughter. © Alpha Classics
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 26 april 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Formed in 1994 at the Royal College of Music in London, the Belcea Quartet already has an impressive discography, including the complete Beethoven string quartets. For this new recording, the ensemble has chosen three quartets by two iconic composers of the 20th century: Leos Janáček and György Ligeti. Fifteen years after their first recording for Zig-Zag, and after some changes in personnel, they have decided to record again the two string quartets by Janáček. The First Quartet was inspired by Leon Tolstoy’s famous novella, The Kreutzer Sonata: the four-movement work follows the narrative, including its culminating murder. The Second Quartet is subtitled Intimate Letters, in homage to Kamila Stösslova, with whom the composer had an important relationship expressed through letters, one that influenced both his life and his music. Finally, the First Quartet by Ligeti, subtitled Métamorphoses nocturnes because of its particular form. The composer described the work as a sort of theme and variations, but not with a specific theme that is then subsequently varied: rather, it is a single musical thought appearing under constantly new guises – for this reason the word ‘metamophoses’ is more appropriate than ‘variations’. © Alpha Classics
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 19 april 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Julian Prégardien decided to record the Dichterliebe cycle after he came across the new Bärenreiter edition; he went on to explore the work in concerts with his constant accompanist, Eric Le Sage, inserting other works by Robert and also by Clara Schumann, whose bicentenary is celebrated in 2019. When Clara played the Dichterliebe in the 1860s, she used to slip extracts from Kreisleriana between the songs. Prégardien asked Eric Le Sage to record the same extracts on a Blüthner piano of 1856, the year of Robert’s death, and also to include Romances composed by both Robert and Clara at a time when their future marriage was still uncertain. The sublime ballade Löwenbraut also forms part of the programme – a reminder of the young Robert’s anguish on Clara’s departure. At Julien’s suggestion, Sandrine Piau was invited to sing three duets: a simple Canon composed by Clara, and two duets by Robert, Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär, and the sublime In der Nacht. Four further songs complete the recording: Sängers Trost, a short piece in belcanto style; Kurzes Erwachen, composed by Robert at the age of just eighteen; Aus den hebräischen Gesängen, a very melancholy song; an extract from the cycle Myrthen (Robert’s wedding present to Clara); and Mein Wagen rollet langsam, a song that was included in the composer’s first version of Dichterliebe. The Dichterliebe songs micht have been expected to show Schumann triumphantly rejoicing in that year of 1840 when he was finally able to marry Clara; and yet they are characterised by bitter irony, nostalgic Sehnsucht, and a sense of dread… © Alpha Classics
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Concertmuziek - Verschenen op 12 april 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Over the past five years, pianist Anna Vinnitskaya has made three Alpha recordings dedicated to Shostakovitch, Brahms et Rachmaninov. Evgeni Koroliov is a great master of the piano, a great Bach specialist, whose recordings of Bach are an acclaimed benchmark. His piano duo with his wife, Ljupka Hadzi-Georgieva, has made its mark over the past few years in all the major international concert venues. Also a highly reputed teacher, Koroliov was Anna Vinnitskaya’s professor at Hamburg. ‘Though I no longer study with him, I still meet and talk with him several times a week,’ she confides. ‘That helps me further in my development, not just as a pianist but as a human being.’ These three Slavonic pianists, who for some time have been aiming to record the Bach concertos as a team, decided to invite a German ensemble that is itself highly expert in Bach interpretation, the Potsdam Chamber Orchestra; they recorded this double album in a legendary venue where some of the greatest artists have recorded: the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin. © Alpha Classics
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Kamermuziek - Verschenen op 5 april 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
This recording is Anima’s very first to be completely devoted to instrumental ensemble music. A group of musicians headed by violinist Jakob Lehmann breathes new life into two 19th-century masterpieces. Schubert's Octet in F is a crown jewel from the repertoire, taking its cue from Beethoven’s celebrated Septet yet at the same time paving the way toward the "Grosse Sinfonie". Roughly 20 years after its iconic recording of the complete Schubert symphonies, Anima brings its signature approach to the composer’s chamber music to explore it with the insights and “language skills” developed back then and from thereon. In contrast to Schubert, Franz Berwald has been largely forgotten – undeservedly, as this gifted Swede left behind an oeuvre that is both surprisingly modern and delightfully original. Performed on period instruments, using authoritative sources and contemporary playing techniques, these brilliant pages of large ensemble music are now ready to be rediscovered and enjoyed once again. © Alpha Classics
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Concertmuziek - Verschenen op 22 maart 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
With their poetry, their passionate and intimate lyricism, their refined style that gradually reveals hidden depths, the thirteen Nocturnes of Gabriel Fauré are the most significant group of works in his oeuvre for solo piano. Composed over a period of forty-six years (between 1875 and 1821), they bear witness to the composer’s remarkable stylistic evolution. From a form of expression rooted in romanticism, to an aesthetic fully aligned with 20th-century modernity, Fauré can be said to have shaped his musical personality like a sculptor. His Nocturnes are not all of equal importance, but as a whole their diversity and development offer a perfect panorama of his art. Éric Le Sage, one of the French piano school’s main representatives, whose many recordings for Alpha include the complete chamber music of Fauré, here interprets the repertoire closest to his heart. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 maart 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Two years after releasing her CD dedicated to Book I of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Céline Frisch now presents the second volume of this musical landmark. Bach compiled Book II in 1744, twenty-two years after Book I. It took until 1801 for both volumes to be printed: from then until the present day they have inspired countless composers. After a series of recordings with the Ensemble Zimmermann she helped to found, Céline Frisch returns to the harpsichord recital, for a programme of this, her very favourite music. Through these preludes and fugues, she reminds us that far from being technical exercises, the Well- Tempered Clavier is a work of pure pleasure and constant renewed discovery. As Robert Schumann declared: ‘You should frequently play the fugues of the great masters, particularly those of J.S. Bach. Make the Well-Tempered Clavier your daily bread.’ © Alpha Classics
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Religieuze cantates - Verschenen op 8 maart 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
Following his recording of J. S. Bach’s solo cantatas for alto BWV 35 and 170 (issued in 2009), countertenor Damien Guillon has continued his work of research and interpretation, devoting a second album to the Cantata BWV 169 for alto solo and to the famous BWV 82 Ich habe genug ; though better known in its 1727 version for bass, from 1735 onwards it was also performed by an alto voice. To complement this cantata programme, organist Maude Gratton performs Bach’s Prelude and Fugue BWV 543, as well as the chorales Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 662, BWV 663 & BWV 664. © Alpha Classics
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 1 maart 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Franz Liszt was 67 when he composed his Via Crucis, yet it did not receive its first performance until 1929, 43 years after the composer’s death. This work of his mature years is in 15 sections, retracing the Stations of the Cross that mark the stages of Christ’s Passion, from being condemned to death to being laid in the tomb. Combining Gregorian chant, the Lutheran liturgy and the Latin, German and Aramaic languages, the Via Crucis shows real formal originality. A devout believer, Liszt gives us here his most important sacred work. He composed several versions: for mixed choir, soloists and organ (with the organ part optionally transcribed for piano), for piano solo, organ solo, and two pianos. After a first programme devoted to Janáček, the Collegium Vocale founded by Philippe Herreweghe is once again conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw in this Alpha recording. © Outhere
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 1 maart 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Ernest Chausson is a most unusual figure in French music, positioned at the crossroads where the romanticism of Berlioz and Franck meet the language of Wagner and the symbolism of the young Debussy. His Poème de l’amour et de la mer is a unique score for the period and certainly his greatest work; simultaneously a profane, naturistic cantata, a monologue, and a song cycle, it was composed between 1882 and 1892. Véronique Gens is recording this cycle for the first time, although she has already issued Le temps des lilas with Susan Manoff at the piano ("Néère"), about which Ernst Van Bek wrote in Classiquenews: « it mesmerises with the nuancing of its colours, the allusive precision of every sung word ». Véronique Gens’ talent is equally on display in this recording too, with the Orchestre National de Lille – an orchestra she already knows well – under Alexandre Bloch, its new chief conductor, whose appointment and first concerts and recordings have already caused a sensation… The Symphony in B-flat major completes this programme: a summit of French symphonic writing, for some a milestone as important as the Symphony in D of Chausson’s teacher César Franck! © Outhere Music
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 22 februari 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 15 februari 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Composed in 1944 and first performed at the Salle Gaveau in Paris on 26 March 1945 by Yvonne Loriod, this is the second great pianistic cycle by Olivier Messiaen: a major work indeed, not only in the composer’s oeuvre but in the entire repertoire for solo piano. As we know, its origin is in the faith and spirituality of Olivier Messiaen, who described it as: ‘The Contemplation of the Child-God in the cradle, and the gazes fixed upon Him: from the inexpressible Gaze of God the Father to the multiple Gaze of the Church of love, also taking in the unheard Gaze of the Spirit of joy, the tender Gaze of the Virgin, of the Angels, of the Magi, and of those creatures that are immaterial or symbolic (Time, Extreme Height, Silence, the Star, the Cross).’ He continues: ‘It is a complex of sounds destined for perpetual variations, pre-existing in the abstract as a series, but very concrete and easy to recognize by their colours: a steely grey-blue traversed by bright red and orange, a mauve-tinted violet spotted with leather-brown and encircled in deep purple.’ The vision of this work transmitted by Martin Helmchen – a great piano virtuoso who is himself marked by a strong sense of spirituality – is another substantial contribution to the Messiaenic monument. © Alpha Classics
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Klassiek - Verschenen op 8 februari 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
The Dubhlinn Gardens: an evening in the high society of 18th century Dublin, where traditional music was ‘civilising’ itself for the salon… This programme was inspired by the passion for traditional Irish music that flautist Anna Besson has felt since she was a child. Surprising as it may seem, it was playing the Irish flute that led her to study the baroque instrument… For the past few years Reinoud Van Mechelen too has begun to train himself in the traditional Irish song with Karan Casey and other singers who have specialised in the unaccompanied Sean-nós. This twofold practice of early as well as traditional music has led the ensemble A Nocte Temporis to offer a programme that is both vivacious and extremely touching. © Outhere
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Vocale muziek (wereldlijk en religieus) - Verschenen op 25 januari 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Mezzo-soprano Eva Zaïcik, who has signed up with Alpha for several recordings, is one of the most prominent vocal artists of her generation. She was chosen as ‘Révélation lyrique’ at the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2018, and elected the same year a Laureate of the prestigious Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition. She has participated in the “Jardin des Voix” of les Arts Florissants under William Christie, also regularly collaborates with Le Poème Harmonique and Vincent Dumestre – but her constant accompanist is the harpsichordist Justin Taylor. Together with two other musician graduates, the violinists Théotime Langlois de Swarte, Sophie de Bardonnèche and the gamba player Louise Pierrard, they have founded Le Consort, to explore both sacred and secular works by composers such as Charpentier, Campra and Clérambault. For this recording they are joined by the flautist Anna Besson and gamba player Lucile Boulanger, both well-known to the Alpha label, and Thibault Roussel (theorbo). This recording is devoted to the Cantatas of Lefebvre, Montéclair, Clérambault and Courbois, more than half of which have never previously been recorded. The cantata inspired non-operatic composers to play out the fashionable narratives of the day on a reduced scale, and in the intimate surroundings of the salons. It is a subtle genre and a vivid depiction of the characters. © Outhere Music
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Symfonische muziek - Verschenen op 18 januari 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique
Alpha begins a complete cycle of the symphonies by Sibelius alongside some of his symphonic poems with Gothenburg Symphony and its new chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. In the great tradition of Finnish conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is known for his extremely physical and organic interpretations: ‘Music unmistakeably flows from him’, commented The Sunday Times. This was evident when, at a very young age, he stepped in to conduct a concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra which began the journey to his first tenure as Chief Conductor with the Tampere Philharmonic; a meteoric rise to a career working at the highest musical level internationally; and a third post as Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. When Bachtrack asked him how he shapes the orchestral sound, he replied: ‘I sing it, I move my hands the way I want it (…) the conductor should be able to show tempo somewhere in the body (…) I was also a drum kit player, so my feet and hands can do different things at the same time. When you read the score, you sing it in your head (…) I think it’s the sense of inside groove that you get from playing percussion which is very important in Sibelius’s music.’ In the Gothenburg Symphony he finds a prestigious cohort of musicians with an impressive discography, and joins a line of their illustrious musical directors, notably Neeme Järvi, the orchestra’s principal conductor from 1982 to 2004, but also Gustavo Dudamel, who is honorary conductor. © Outhere Music
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Operette - Verschenen op 11 januari 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diapason d'or / Arte
The elegant Jodie Devos puts her talents to work in service of a fairly unknown known side of Offenbach, taking on several somewhat-forgotten pieces which call for very specific voices, known in Offenbach’s day by names such as "chanteuse d’agilité", "chanteuse à roulade" or "première chanteuse légère". Of course, everyone knows the tune of the doll Olympia from Tales of Hoffmann, or the telling of the death of Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld, but the substantial repertoire of the composer's smaller pieces (which he generally referred to as "operettas" to distinguish them from his larger works, his famous opéras bouffe) contains a number of virtuoso arias for coloratura soprano. In them, we hear the vocal imitation of the jeu perlé piano technique or of Paganini's "flying staccato", in which unstinting bravura hides the real difficulty behind something apparently easy. But the difference from many bel canto composers, who merely show off vocals and melody, is that Offenbach knows how to charge these things with emotion, with textual significance, with personality, and with contrasts: simple mechanics never take precedence over diversity. This record allows us to discover a neat little collection of sadly little-known works which are well overdue a return to the French stage. © SM/Qobuz

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